Well well well, here we are. The show is tomorrow. It’s been a very busy 2 weeks and that is the reason there wasn’t a blog post last week. Much has happened since the last upload, has the show changed entirely? Not quite but only a quarter of the material we had in week 7 has survived the trip into week 9.
It’s a very strange thing. The very first performance moment we created has been an ever-present in our devising process. The hand choreography has received the most positive feedback and has definitely been our favourite section to work on, developing it from a 4-minute sequence to a 13-minute exploration hands as “other”; this is now the title given to this act of the show.
To begin the show we were told in a supervised rehearsal that it might be nice to set up the show as being hand-oriented by turning switches on and off in an over-acted manner. We developed this idea into a “hand warm-up” or ritual to start the show, focussing attention on the hands and the lamps are turned on. They are touch sensitive so we should really emphasise that.
Then we have the first act Hands as Alien, previously titled Hands as Absent which is inspired by the start of our short-story. As we are not telling a story however, the focus of the text generated is around imagining a world where humans don’t have hands. Where this text originally went into great detail about the world, its history and progression, we thought it distracted from the poetic feel of the rest of the show. It’s become much more questioning in the last week, asking what it would be like to live in such a world, while asking the audience to look in detail at their own hands.
The third act is a developed version of previously generated material going under the title Hands as Sounds. A more playful and communicative piece of hands synced with a recorded track of hand sounds has replaced the very basic material originally created. This is with the addition of my own hands playing guitar without the guitar to a track that will enable the audience to see a wide variety of hand positions and movement.
The fourth act is the most recent addition while at the same time being inspired by our performance pitch, the very first day in the project. This section isn’t shadow puppetry, but it does use shadow and imagery to create a multitude of pictures, hence the act’s title Hands as Image. The choreography was devised in the same manner as the second act, it was suggested to us to revisit the second act and we did want to do that, but in a different way to not seem repetitive. I’m very happy with how it’s turned out.
The final act, Hands as Life, is a reflection. The show up until this point has been entirely fictional or abstract, purposely open as the show is an exploration. The primary change made in the last act is one that has the possibility of being quite affective as it fuses the personal and the poetic. We present just some of the infinite number of tasks our hands carry out, ask questions about our hands development and subsequent deterioration before a closing poem that seems to describe the act of washing one’s hands while seemingly recounting a life lived.
The show we have made is not the show we set out to make. I think a lot of devising companies will say the same. We have nearly two show’s worth of material that we haven’t used and after making contemporary performance work for over 4 years I can safely say that’s never happened. Whilst being surprising in one sense it is refreshing in another, I’m very happy with the show we have created. Very happy. Bring on the show!